As soon as our plane lands in Mexico City, I’m on my way to the U.S. embassy for a dinner meeting with the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Carlos Pascual. Although he has only been in this post for just over a year, he has decades of experience in foreign diplomacy, including previously serving as our Ambassador to the Ukraine. We’re joined by another member of our delegation, Julian Castro, the young rising star mayor of San Antonio, Texas.
We discuss what the Ambassador calls “the many Mexicos” — a place rich with natural resources and agricultural abundance, but also a staggering poverty rate. The nation is becoming a true leader in high tech, yet lately it is known for its alarming high rate of crime. I have lots of questions for the Ambassador and his staff about U.S./Mexico border issues, immigration, jobs, trade and the economy, education programs, and specifically, clashes between Mexican authorities and strikers at the Cananea copper mine. I’ve been following that situation closely and am concerned about labor rights as the mine prepares to reopen, especially the right to freely form and join a union.
I also learn that at one time, Ambassador Pascual and I both shared the same zip code in the city of El Monte, and I’m struck by how small the world really is. Nearly midnight, I head for my hotel. I have a big day tomorrow.